Illinois Supreme Court: Year-End Campaign Disclosure Reports Leaders Reveal Frontrunners

Daniel Shanes
Elizabeth Rochford

Daniel Shanes leads Republicans while Elizabeth Rochford leads Democrats in fundraising at close of 2021

At the end of 2021, the six declared candidates for Illinois Supreme Court Justice, 2nd District, campaign disclosure filings reveal definite frontrunners, at least financially, as 2022 begins:

Compiled by McHenry County Blog

Lake County Associate Judge Elizabeth Rochford (D, Lake Forest) leads with cash-on-hand on December 31, 2021, of $215.8K.

Rochford’s loans total $89K and were from her husband, Michael Striedl. It is no secret Rochford has ties to Chicago Alderman Ed Burke, as Rochford’s father and Burke were Chicago police officers in the 1960s, before Burke’s election to alderman. Burke’s wife is Illinois Supreme Court Justice Michael Burke.

Lake County Circuit Judge Daniel Shanes (R, Libertyville) leads among Republicans, with $194.5K cash-on-hand, and without taking loans during all of 2021.

Nancy Rotering

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering (D) finished 2nd behind Rochford among Democrats with just over $104K cash-on-hand at the end of 2021, with less than $1K in loans.

During the 4th Quarter of 2021, Rotering was endorsed by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D, IL-09) and while Schakowsky introduces herself to Algonquin Township Democratic primary voters in 2022, Mayor Rotering is only certainly to be mentioned, given the competitiveness of the 2nd District Supreme Court race.

John Noverini

Finishing 2nd among Republicans in year-end cash-on-hand of $94.2K is Kane County Circuit Judge John Noverini (R, Carpentersville).

Noverini is largely self-funding his bid for Illinois Supreme Court thus far, having a net loan amount for 2021 of $102K.

Mark Curran

Kane County Circuit Judge René Cruz (D, Aurora) and former Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran (R, Libertyville) had $25K and 20K respectfully cash-on-hand at the end of 2021.

Curran had over $22K cash in his sheriff political committee left over from his campaign in 2018 when he lost his bid for a 4th tern as sheriff.

The 2nd District includes the counties of Lake, Kane, McHenry, Kendall, and DeKalb.

From the desk of John Lopez: While fundraising is one metric, name ID is not measurable outside of polling, and Curran likely still has the highest name ID, particularly in Lake County, the largest county in the 2nd District after his four electoral campaigns for Lake County sheriff and his unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate in 2020, handily winning the Republican primary on name ID alone among a weak field.

René Cruz

Now that the calendar is 2022, activity will increase for all candidates, and all campaigns, and their supporters are encouraged to send information to McHenry County Blog in this high profile open seat with competitive primaries in both Democratic and Republican parties.


Illinois Supreme Court: Year-End Campaign Disclosure Reports Leaders Reveal Frontrunners — 9 Comments

  1. Curran is a melvin and Shanes was endorsed by Kenneally. It’s disgusting. Not sure if Noverini is any better. It’s not looking good.

    There are two “swing districts” and conservatives need to win BOTH of them if they want to have a majority. To me, this looks like the easier of the two swing districts to win, and it looks like Republicans will lose both.

    Rotering is too wacky. She’s associated with too many nutballs which could make independents think twice about voting for her. If she or Cruz wins, Republicans might have a chance but if Rocheford wins, which I think she will, it’s going to be a steep uphill battle for the GOP.

    X factor is if big money wants to come in and tries to tie Democrat judges with Chicago crime. That could actually be an effective strategy in the suburbs. But who knows what these goofy billionaires want to do and what they prioritize. If the last week is any indication, they want to throw their money behind “Republicans” like Richard Irvin who supports Black Lives Matter, JB Pritzker, and Lauren Underwood…

  2. ** To me, this looks like the easier of the two swing districts to win**

    FWIW, this district (the 2nd) is a few points more Democratic than the 3rd District. Biden won the 2nd by 14 points, the 3rd by 9 points. Kwame Raoul won the 2nd by 3.3% and the 3rd by .01%.

    **[Rotering is] associated with too many nutballs which could make independents think twice about voting for her.**

    Who are these nutballs you’re referring to?

    As for the X factor… I’d be SHOCKED if Ken Griffin doesn’t spend a ton of money on these two Supreme Court races.

  3. ^You may be right. I assumed the other one was bluer because it has DuPage County which is the second most populous county in the state. Turns out Lake and Kane were a lot bluer than I remembered and Lake was even more blue than DuPage (!), while Kankakee was a lot redder than I thought.

    Rotering seemed to be supported by a lot of left-lib/prog sorts when she ran for IL AG in 2018.

    Shake, you want to know WHO? Here is my answer to you: A bunch of Bernie lesbians on my Facebook!

    Or if you don’t like that answer, look at Jan Schakowski’s endorsement.

  4. **You may be right.**

    I mean… the data says that I’m right. Facts vs opinions and all.

    RE: Rotering–

    Well, “a bunch of Bernie lesbians on facebook” are not going to make an ounce of difference with independent voters.

    And a Jan endorsement doesn’t turn off independent voters. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    I’ve got plenty of thoughts on this race that I won’t share here, but I will say that Rochford definitely has some issues that will hurt her in the general…

  5. Easy for you to say. Jan’s district is very rich and Jewish.

    It doesn’t look at all like this judicial district which has Kendall and McHenry County.

    Just because she’s popular in Evanston doesn’t mean she’s popular elsewhere.

    Same goes for Nancy and her Highland Park situation.

    Elizabeth is a sitting judge.

    Nancy is not.

    Elizabeth is whooping Nancy’s ass on fundraising.

    What do you think is happening??

    And yeah those bernie people are ALWAYS getting bullied by the Dem establishment go look at what happened to all the people who ran against Madigan to the left of him.

    They were ridiculed as reactionaries smh.

    I know left wing activists in Lake County who aren’t even allowed at Democratic meetings and have been physically assaulted by the Democratic Party goon squad.

    Democrats only care about progressive dorks like that when it’s being weaponized against Republicans.

    When it’s in a primary it’s different.

    Look at how ruthless the typical Republican haters are being towards Anna Valencia too.

    Cal doesn’t talk about it, but that SoS race is already WAY more bitter even than the Republican gubernatorial primary.

    Dem primaries are way crazier than Republican primaries in this state bro.

    Republican primaries are just like some old bald people whining on the internet, but Dem primaries are like people destroying cars and animal heads on door steps.

    The last time there was a major disagreement between Dems in McHenry County, the chairman just started expelling all the people who disagreed with the “party line.”

  6. Shake,

    Couple of flaws in your analysis concerning the district, using the 2018 AG race, this is a time to scrutinize the downballot local races in each of the 5 counties.

    For example, in Kane County, no Democrat has won a county wide judicial election.

    Democratic judges, including both Cruz and Noverini (as a Democrat in 2008), usually only win in subcircuits in Kane.

    The Hartwell-Noland race of 2018 is the only exception, but that also factors-in 2018 was an unusual election where everything went right for the Democrats, plus Republican Hartwell had no bench experience over former state Senator Noland.

    More recent example, the countywide race between Judge Flood and Pederson in 2020.

    In spite of the Democratic wipeout of Republicans in 2020 for 4 countywide offices, the countywide circuit judge election was won by the Republican.

    Don’t know about Lake County, the largest county in the district.

    Looking at the primary, in both primaries, could the two Lake County candidates split the vote enough in Lake to enable Judges Cruz and Noverini both have a chance to pull off the upset in the primary?

    Noverini has won multiple contested races prior to being elected judge, including Carpentersville village trustee in 1999, Kane County Board in Republican primary in both 2002 (unseating an incumbent) and 2006, and defeating an appointed circuit judge in 2008 as a Democrat.

    Observers say, even at 63 and 14 years removed from his last election, he still has the grassroots organizing skills.

    Since both Curran and Noverini are former Democrats, will Shanes’ always being a Republican go well for him (hard to imagine that, given Richard Irvin’s well-documented Democrat ballots cast, plus the 2008 Bailey “chaos” vote.

    As far as Ken Griffin money, I’ll guess he will wait for the general to invest in the Republican nominee in the 2nd, as well as the 3rd.

  7. ** this is a time to scrutinize the downballot local races in each of the 5 counties.**

    1) you’re welcome to do that analysis if you’d like, but what you have above isn’t actually analysis of the partisanship of the full districts, but instead random isolated facts. There are ways to actually look at data rather than just make guesses on this.

    2) But, more on the “guesses” side, I don’t think that state Supreme Court races – where a ton of money is going to be spent on the general election – is remotely comparable to previous county wide judicial elections.

  8. Shake, fair enough, but I must point out, you and I are doing the same thing, making educated guesses and you’ve not proven your use of the partisan-metrics for the new Supreme Court districts is any better than my use of more indicative races, local and circuit court races.

    My educated guess only applies more common sense than your educated guess. The real test will be for high-dollar donors applying their own metrics once the nominees are known to determine how much money to spend to win.

    Doesn’t matter how much money is spent, the Supreme Court spot on the general election ballot is much further down-ballot than statewide, congressional, General Assembly or even county offices.

    While 2020 did prove big $$ advertising works in a Supreme Court retention race, it’s easier to market a Yes/No question on one name opposed to marketing a name for something downballot like judicial election. That’s just common sense.

    Plus, there are at least two competitive Supreme Court elections this fall in two districts where media markets cross, which will diminish big $$ TV advertising like was seen in 2020.

    If Supreme Court justice was at the top of the ballot, or near the top, after the constitutional amendment, U.S. senator and all IL executive offices, then your use of partisan metrics would be more valid.

    Right now, judging fundraising metrics, the big-dollar people are currently not yet engaged to ensure the most viable nominees emerge, as the donors see them though nominal frontrunners have emerged for both parties.

  9. Cruz is corrupt!!

    Cruz should be indicted along wit Judge Dolton!

    Vote for Curran!!

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